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Did you know that there are four ways to cross over from Honshu to Kyushu? You can actually walk over the Kanmon Strait! Learn all about them here, and choose the best way to cross for you.
The Japanese archipelago comprises four large islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. Kyushu, the southernmost island, sits across from the largest island, Honshu, with the Kanmon Bridge in between. This article, from a Shimonoseki native, will explain how to get from Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi prefecture, Honshu’s southernmost city, to Kitakyushu in Fukuoka prefecture, the northernmost city on Kyushu. This is a must-read for people who plan to make a full trip around Japan or want to visit the Kyushu and Chugoku regions!
Tourist who don’t intend to rent a car on their travels should travel by train. Tunnels connect JR Shimonoseki Station, the southernmost station on Honshu, to JR Moji Station, the northernmost station on Kyushu. The train takes about five minutes and the fare is 230 yen. You can also cross the Kanmon Bridge via shinkansen (bullet train).
There are two ways to cross Kanmon Bridge by car. First, you can take the expressway over, or you can take the Kanmon National Road Tunnel
The Kanmon Strait-spanning Kanmon Bridge is an expressway, and cars can cross over it. The shortest route to cross the Kanmon Bridge goes from the Shimonoseki Interchange to the Moji Port (Fukuoka Prefecture) Interchange, and takes four minutes and 360 yen (for a standard car).
From atop the bridge, you can get a clear look at the bridge and the scenery on the opposing shores. Also, from the Dannoura parking area on the Honshu side and the Mekari parking (*1) area on the Kyushu side, you can get an unbroken view of the Kanmon Bridge. If you want to enjoy the scenery, we recommend taking the expressway.
(*1) You cannot enter the Mekari parking area unless you are west of the Moji Interchange.
Photo by benichidori on Flickr
You can also cross the Kanmon Bridge via an underground tunnel. This is the cute-looking entrance to the tunnel, illustrated with images of Shimonoseki’s famous blowfish. The toll for a standard car is 150 yen, and it takes up to five minutes. Take the tunnel if you don’t want to drive all the way to the expressway.
If you want to experience the waters of the Kanmon Bridge up close, we recommend going by boat. There is a Kanmon ferry in Shimonoseki city, which travels a route from the Shimonoseki City Karato Pier to the Kitakyushu City Moji Port Pier. While you’re on the boat, you can see the huge ships coming and going through the strait, and feel their power. The fare is 400 yen, and the trip takes approximately five minutes.
Actually, you can walk across Kanmon Bridge. There is a footpath below the road in the tunnel we mentioned earlier. Even though you are inside a tunnel, you are technically walking on the ocean floor, so it is quite a strange feeling.
The central point of the tunnel is the prefectural border between Yamaguchi and Fukuoka, and you will often see people straddling this line and snapping memorial photos. There are also local residents who regularly use this footpath for jogging and walking. It takes up to 15 minutes, and is free. People on motorbikes and bicycles can pay a 20 yen toll, and go through while pushing their vehicle.
What did you think? Surely, there are many people who had no idea that there are this many ways to get from Shimonoseki to Kitakyushu. Since the moment you cross from island to island is a precious one, don’t just treat Kanmon Bridge as a checkpoint, but experience its power as you cross.
Photos by Pixta